Dirk Benedict (birth name: Dirk Niewoehner) was born on March 1st 1945 in Helena, Montana. He was the son of Pricilla Mella (née Metzger), an accountant, and George Edward Niewoehner, a lawyer. Dirk grew up in White Sulphur Springs, Montana and graduated from Whitman College in 1967. Benedict allegedly chose his stage name from a serving of Eggs Benedict he had enjoyed prior to his acting career.
Benedict’s film debut was in the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. When the New York run for Butterflies Are Free ended, he received an offer to repeat his performance in Hawaii, opposite Barbara Rush. While there, he appeared as a guest lead on Hawaii Five-O.
The producers of a horror film called Sssssss saw Benedict’s performance in Hawaii Five-O and promptly cast him as the lead in that movie. He next played the psychotic wife-beating husband of Twiggy in her American film debut, W. Benedict starred in the television series Chopper One which aired for one season in 1974. He also made an appearance in Charlie’s Angels.
Benedict’s career break came in 1978 when he appeared as Lieutenant Starbuck in the movie and television series Battlestar Galactica.
In 1979, Benedict starred in the ensemble movie Scavenger Hunt before reprising his Starbuck role for an episode in Galactica’80.
In 1981, Benedict starred alongside Linda Blair in Ruckus, then in 1982, Dirk gained further popularity as con-man Lieutenant Templeton “Face” Peck in 1980s action television series, The A-Team. He played “Faceman” from 1982 to 1986, although the series didn’t air until January 1983, and the final episode wasn’t shown until 1987.
The A-Team‘s second season episode Steel was filmed at Universal Studios and includes the now classic scene where Face is seen looking bemused as a Cylon walks by him as an in-joke to his previous role in Battlestar Galactica. The clip is incorporated into the series’ opening credit sequence from the third season onward.
In 1986, Benedict starred as a low-life band manager Harry Smilac in the movie Body Slam along with Lou Albano, Roddy Piper, and cameo appearances by Freddie Blassie, Ric Flair, and Bruno Sammartino. His character Smilac ends up managing the pro-wrestler “Quick” Rick Roberts (Piper) and faces opposition by Captain Lou and his wrestling tag-team “The Cannibals”.
In 1987, Benedict took the title role of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Abbey Theatre, he then starred in the 1989 TV movie Trenchcoat in Paradise.
In 1991, Benedict starred in Blue Tornado, playing Alex, call sign Fireball, an Italian air force fighter pilot. Benedict published an autobiography, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy: A True Story of Discovery, Acting, Health, Illness, Recovery, and Life. In 1993, Benedict starred in Shadow Force. Benedict also appeared as Jake Barnes in the 1996 action-adventure film Alaska.
In 2006, he wrote an online essay criticizing the then-airing Battlestar Galactica re-imagined series, and especially its casting of a woman as his character, Starbuck, writing that “the war against masculinity has been won” and that “a television show based on hope, spiritual faith, and family is unimagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction”.
He appeared as a contestant on the 2007 U.K. series of Celebrity Big Brother. He arrived on launch night in a replica of the A-Team van, smoking a cigar and accompanied by Post & Carpenter’s A-Team theme tune.
In 2010, Benedict starred in Prescription: Murder playing Lieutenant Columbo along with Patrick Ryecart and George Telfer. Benedict also made a cameo appearance in the 2010 film adaptation of The A-Team as Pensacola Prisoner Milt.
Whether it be Lt. Starbuck or Face, Benedict won the hearts of a generation and continues to fill the Heroes of Cult lounge full of cigar smoke!
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